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Desha County, Arkansas facts for kids

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Desha County
Desha County courthouse in Arkansas City
Desha County courthouse in Arkansas City
Map of Arkansas highlighting Desha County
Location within the U.S. state of Arkansas
Map of the United States highlighting Arkansas
Arkansas's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Arkansas
Founded December 12, 1838
Named for Benjamin Desha
Seat Arkansas City
Largest city Dumas
 • Total 820 sq mi (2,100 km2)
 • Land 768 sq mi (1,990 km2)
 • Water 51 sq mi (130 km2)  6.3%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 17/sq mi (7/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 1st

Desha County is a county located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 13,008, making it the fifty-sixth most populous of Arkansas's seventy-five counties. The county seat is Arkansas City. Located within the Arkansas Delta, Desha County's rivers and fertile soils led to prosperity under the cotton-driven economy of plantation agriculture. Following mechanization on the farm, Desha County saw a demographic and economic transformation. Today, the county seeks to reverse its population and economic losses through better education for its workforce and tourism based on the cultural, historical and outdoor recreation amenities it offers to residents and tourists.


Desha County was created by the Arkansas Legislature on December 12, 1838, consisting of the lands of Arkansas County separated from the county seat by the Arkansas River White River and land from Chicot County. The county was named for Captain Benjamin Desha, who fought in the War of 1812.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 820 square miles (2,100 km2), of which 768 square miles (1,990 km2) is land and 51 square miles (130 km2) (6.3%) is water. Desha County is within the Arkansas Delta and is considered a member of the Southeast Arkansas region.

Major highways

  • I-69.svg Future Interstate 69
  • US 65.svg U.S. Highway 65
  • US 165.svg U.S. Highway 165
  • US 278.svg U.S. Highway 278
  • Arkansas 1.svg Highway 1
  • Arkansas 4.svg Highway 4
  • Arkansas 138.svg Highway 138

Adjacent counties

National protected area


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 1,598
1850 2,911 82.2%
1860 6,459 121.9%
1870 6,125 −5.2%
1880 8,973 46.5%
1890 10,324 15.1%
1900 11,511 11.5%
1910 15,274 32.7%
1920 20,297 32.9%
1930 21,814 7.5%
1940 27,160 24.5%
1950 25,155 −7.4%
1960 20,770 −17.4%
1970 18,761 −9.7%
1980 19,760 5.3%
1990 16,798 −15.0%
2000 15,341 −8.7%
2010 13,008 −15.2%
Est. 2015 11,965 −8.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2015
USA Desha County, Arkansas age pyramid
Age pyramid Desha County

As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 15,341 people, 5,922 households, and 4,192 families residing in the county. The population density was 20 people per square mile (8/km²). There were 6,663 housing units at an average density of 9 per square mile (3/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 50.50% White, 46.33% Black or African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.30% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.73% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. 3.16% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 5,922 households out of which 34.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.50% were married couples living together, 19.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.20% were non-families. 26.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the county, the population was spread out with 28.90% under the age of 18, 9.00% from 18 to 24, 25.20% from 25 to 44, 22.70% from 45 to 64, and 14.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 87.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $24,121, and the median income for a family was $30,028. Males had a median income of $29,623 versus $18,913 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,446. About 23.60% of families and 28.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 39.60% of those under age 18 and 24.00% of those age 65 or over.




Unincorporated areas

Historic community


Desha County Arkansas 2010 Township Map small
Townships in Desha County, Arkansas as of 2010

Townships in Arkansas are the divisions of a county. Each township includes unincorporated areas; some may have incorporated cities or towns within part of their boundaries. Arkansas townships have limited purposes in modern times. However, the United States Census does list Arkansas population based on townships (sometimes referred to as "county subdivisions" or "minor civil divisions"). Townships are also of value for historical purposes in terms of genealogical research. Each town or city is within one or more townships in an Arkansas county based on census maps and publications. The townships of Desha County are listed below; listed in parentheses are the cities, towns, and/or census-designated places that are fully or partially inside the township.

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